__Pitching struggles as Georgia State sweeps; Tribe now 20-16 overall__
Having won 11 of its last 13 contests and 14 of its last 16 at home in Plumeri Park, the Tribe baseball team entered this past weekend’s series against conference opponent Georgia State University on a five-game winning streak, ranking second in the CAA. Unfortunately, the Panthers came out swinging, and managed to sweep the series 17-11, 6-2, and 15-12. With the losses, the Tribe fell to 20-16 overall, 8-7 in the CAA.
p. In Friday’s game, both teams struggled to get into a pitching rhythm as four relievers were pulled from the bullpen.
p. “We are definitely getting concerned that we’re overusing some people … Our pitching was not what we wanted it to be this weekend,” Head Coach Frank Leoni said.
p. Junior starting pitcher Sean Grieve (2-3) recorded the loss. The College put up strong offensive numbers with 11 hits, as junior catcher Tim Park went 3-for-4, sophomore shortstop Lanny Stanfield and junior left fielder Greg Maliniak went 2-for-3, and sophomore outfielder Ben Guez went 2-for-4. Guez launched the offense in the second with a double to advance Maliniak. Both ended up scoring in the inning, along with junior center fielder Paul Juliano.
p. The Panthers racked up eight runs in the sixth to give them a total of 12, and although the College pushed in seven runs before the end of the game (including a Maliniak home run that also plated sophomore first baseman Mike Sheridan and sophomore pinch hitter Jeff Jones), Georgia State would score five more to reach the final tally of 17-11.
p. Due to the snowstorm Saturday, the scheduled game was postponed until Sunday to be played as a double-header. The first game, played as a seven-inning contest, featured freshman Kevin Landry (4-4) on the mound, who struck out six but allowed seven hits, ultimately recording the 2-6 loss. Tribe bats were quieter than usual with only five hits, two from Maliniak. Maliniak charged a double to left center in the second, advanced, and scored on a single from sophomore catcher Jeff Wera. Guez shot a homer to right center in the fourth to seal the College’s scoring.
p. “Some of our most talented players are our younger players and I hope they continue to step up,” Coach Leoni said.
p. Bats were livelier in the third game of the series as Sheridan, Guez, and senior third baseman Greg Sexton all had three hits, and sophomore right fielder Robbie Nickle went 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs.
p. “Robbie Nickle and Ben Guez really stepped up and gave us the boost we needed to compete this weekend,” Maliniak said.
p. Sexton launched a homer in the first to start the Tribe scoring. Georgia State put across six runs in the third and two more in the fifth, but the Tribe tallied up seven more to reach an 8-8 tie in the bottom of the seventh. In the ninth, the Panthers refused to leave quietly and brought in seven runs. The College rallied in the bottom of the ninth and recorded four runs as Sexton, Maliniak, Sheridan and Guez all scored, but could not close the gap. Junior Pete Vernon (5-3) recorded the loss.
p. “All in all, we’re not going to win every conference game and it’s good to get a bad weekend out of the way so we can dominate the way we should to close out the season,” Maliniak said.